Wednesday, March 12, 2008

MY father was big great throb in my neck when I was growing up. He was dreadfully strict disciplinarian who whacks my butt with his leather belt every time I do things contrary to his likes. That was often! He firmly believed in the Biblical saying “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

My father’s usual mantra was “Have you studied your lesson?” To which I would reply “But its summer vacation.” (I would just like the readers to note that back in the late 60’s there were no summer academic programs for kids. Once you “do” summer, that means you failed your subject.) “I don’t care! Read books! There’s a whole set of Britannica on the bookshelves” my father will counter.

Who the heck reads encyclopedia. So what I do was go to Ka Seto, the local Tagalog comics vendor, and rent comics with such titles as Pioneer, Hiwaga, Aliwan, Wakasan, Tagalog Klasiks, etc.. Of course my father would eventually catch me reading the comics and that would bring on another butt-date with his leather belt.

Papa was always pushing my brother and me to do things way beyond our imagined capabilities. He used to say that we were so privileged because we did not have to walk to get to school nor work to support our studies. I was 9 years old, my brother 8.

When I reached puberty my father became more stern and severe. I was not allowed to go to parties or soirees or outings or any activity that could make me enjoy my teens. No suitors. No boyfriends. No dates. As far as my father knew, I was following his rules. Boy, was he totally wrong.

I was so rebellious and hard-headed that my clashes with my father became regular household disturbances. In this corner: my 2 maiden aunts and me. In that corner: my father and his ideals. My mom was usually in the center. If my 2 maiden aunts were not enough to convince my father to give me permission to whatever or wherever, my mom’s other sister will be called. Ah, this aunt of mine was the best. The moment my father sees her, the balance tips over my side.

When I had my debut, I was not permitted to stay through the end. It was Martial Law and overnight parties were the protocol due to curfew. It was the 70’s and skirts were super-duper short. I was to wear shorts or half-slips under my skirt.

My father was proud of me. He used to bring over friends and commanded me to play-the-piano-while-i-sing-and-dance-and-eat-fire-while-cartwheeling-my- other- hand- playing the banduria. I was always pitted against my cousins who were years older that I was. I was supposed to get high grades and be a doctor some day. My father expected so much from me and of me.

I did not want to be a doctor. I wanted to be a musician! An artist! A performer! I fought real hard to win this bout and I did. Did I?

Many years later, I wished I listened to my father’s advice. If I did, I would be a doctor now. But hey, being an architect is not so bad. What really saddens me is the fact that my father never achieved his dream of having a doctor in the family. He died on July 18, 2000, the year my eldest child and his first granddaughter entered medical school.

My father taught me the virtues of discipline. He instilled in me a sense of responsibility. He rammed in me the importance of education. We shared the same passion in music for he was a very accomplished banduria player. My father made me realize that I can be whatever I want to be.

My father was Dr. Guillermo B. Lengson. He was a husband, a father, a dentist, a Karate guru, a musician, a mechanic, an electrician, a son and a grandfather. He would have been 77 today.

I miss you papa.
Posted by desperateblogger On 3/12/2008 08:29:00 AM 5 comments


  1. this is a very touching post.Thanks for sharing!

  2. tough love. old school. i miss my dad too :0( DB in a mini? did you really wear them? :0)

  3. lalaine, you're welcome

    Dg: sobrang ikli ng skirt ko... LOL

  4. As Lalaine said...very touching. I'm sure he's happy knowing the dream is realized with Luanne...may bonus pa sa sa teacher.

    My father was the opposite when it came to discipline. He was very lenient kaya may mga anak syang medyo naligaw ng landas for a while....ako? Nah...nag bait baitan ako...

    Salamat po sa kwento..and sa dalaw. Btw, di ako bumoboto sa AI...sulat na lang hoping some will do it for me...haha

  5. You made me tear :( Miss my papa too!


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